Koh Surin & Surin National Marine Park
Inhabited by local sea gypsies, Koh Surin hosts some of the oldest and most established reefs in Thailand, they are situated 60 Km North East of the Similans near the Thai - Burmese border markers.
The two main islands; Koh Surin Nua and Koh Surin Tai are the largest in the Surin group. This Archipelago is much quieter than the Similan Islands as it is a little off the beaten track for most tourists.
Although Koh Tachai is half way between the Similan islands and the Surin group Tachai is usually referred to as a Surin island, like wise, Richelieu Rock is also classed as part of the Surin archipelago, even though it is not an island at all but a large sea mount strutting up form depth of 3m and more in parts.
Surin is not only home to local sea gypsies, but also to a great range of wildlife. On the islands itself, it is possible to see; Flying Foxes, Grey Bellied Squirrels, Mouse Deer, crab eating Macaques and white bellied Sea Eagles.
The Surin Islands have a large population of Hawksbill Turtles, which use the local beaches to lay their eggs. Certain times of the year False Killer Whales and Pilot Whales can be seen breaking the surface with their young as they come up for air. Also Sailfish are another common sight here; occasionally jumping spectacularly close to the boats, as if to show off their unique colourful patterns.
The dive sites around these waters consist of sloping reefs and submerged pinnacles; all covered in a huge variety of soft and hard pristine corals. There are stunning coral bommies, which are home to many smaller marine creatures, including many species of Nudibranch, Cowries, Filter feeding crabs, Seahorses, various species of Pipefish and there is an overabundance of Featherstars –many of the species here are exclusive to Surin.
Giant Yellow Edged, Undulated and White Eyed are just a few of the Moray Eel family which can be stumbled upon. The well camouflaged Frogfish (aka Anglerfish) are around too, though quite elusive and at times difficult to find. There is a huge variety of scorpion fish here too, such as Common Spot Fin Lionfish, the Raggy, and Bearded Scorpion fish and of course the Reef Stonefish. Divers need to be cautious where they put their hands.
Bluefin trevallies, looking for their next meal pursue large schools of glass fish without mercy. Blue Spotted Stingrays and the much larger Feather Tail Stingray can be seen lazing on the sandy areas.
The bizarre Garden Eels are a favourite amongst divers as they sway in the gentle current.
Several species of barracuda hunt here too, such as the Great, Pick-handle and Yellowtail Barracuda stalking prey make for an impressive site. Black and White Tip Reef Sharks are frequently seen here as well as the odd Grey Reef shark. Snappers, Sweet-lips, Emperors, Groupers and of course the Dotty-backs also make Surin their home.